Wednesday, 20th September 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

So it begins......AGAIN!!!!

If you are in favour of the expansion of Waterford City and the greater South East region (which I am), then you will be positively disposed to support the “Report of the Waterford Boundary Review Committee”. A rather meaty 70 page document, which was released last week and immediately, started World War III. With ALL manner of, hitherto silent TDs, from “Across the border”, suddenly getting their tuppence worth on the local airwaves. In fact I would not be surprised if some had contacted The Donald and asked him to fund building another wall!

It will be our shootout at the Ferrybank Corral, with party TD against party TD. The opening salvos have already been fired in the run up to the report’s release. Locally, we have FF and FG Councillors, upsetting their elected TDs, by clearly and openly being in favour of the expansion. Putting their electorate first, above inter-party politics. There have been contradictory radio interviews, thousands of written words in the “North side” local newspapers. As for social media. I am sure the fallout may well take down Mr Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire!

The Report recommends that the Administration area of Waterford Council, be extended to include a significant area, lying to the North of the River Suir. Thus, allowing the City to naturally expand and this in turn should allow for greater economic flexibility in marketing brand Waterford. In time this will help the whole South East region to catch up with the other regional areas of Ireland, which are quite simply miles ahead of Waterford/SE, in terms of their economic recovery?

Our Government’s track record, with regard to accepting and implementing reports, can be vividly demonstrated in the delivery of the Herity Report, on UHW. This of course means that the “Report of the Waterford Boundary Review Committee” will have to be realised, in full, no matter what the political outcry or consequences are!

The Ministers in the Dáil, cannot cherry pick which parts of this independent report they wish to activate. It is all or nothing, as with the Herity Report. A U-turn due to political carping from diametrically opposing views, will not be tolerated and in fact if this happens every “Independent report” can now be questioned, ridiculed and binned.

Unfortunately, like the current health campaign, many will to their own benefit, turn this into an entirely Waterford issue. Deflecting from the stark economic realities, that the South East region is so far adrift from the rest of the country, this expansion needs to happen to generate jobs, jobs and yet more jobs.

Those high-horse political naysayers, with rose tinted glasses and myopic vision, need to realise that Dublin’s economic sphere of influence is creeping, rather rapidly, ever closer to our region. This will not only affect Waterford but Wexford, Kilkenny and Carlow too. Jobs will be sucked towards the capital and we will very quickly become dead, soulless commuter belts. It is already happening and to have any chance of stopping the tumbleweed blowing across the whole of the South East, we MUST compete. These recommendations will go some way to levelling the playing field.

It beggars belief that so many can be influenced by such a few, with only one real agenda. The agenda of getting re-elected. These absent TDs now espousing a “Land grab” and some supportive Hacks, even likening the boundary extension to a certain Mr Hitler invading Poland, need to take a long hard look at themselves. Perhaps they have a rather jaundiced view of European history when it comes to Adolf et al?

The campaign opposed to the boundary extension, took the rather easy option. Asking people to duplicate, copy and regurgitate the same message, on a simple A4 piece of paper. Where’s the passion and emotion in that? If this was such an emotive issue, then surely that should have been reflected in 19,000 individual heartfelt letters written from the soul? Not a Xerox duplicate.

The wider picture, like our health issues, needs to be addressed. We need investment and more jobs in the region. Moving a line on a map will undoubtedly help.

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